Around The Bases: NFL Draft Jerseys Edition

Posted on May 10, 2014 | in Baseball, Football, Lean Wastes, Motion, Quality, Respect For People, SMED/Setup Reduction, Sports, Standardized Work, Time Savings | by
nfl draft jerseys rack

Each NFL team has a few blank jerseys on a rack backstage at the NFL Draft ready to be customized with a draft pick’s name.

The NFL Draft and Nike came up with a neat concept in 2012 – a way to present each first round draft pick at the Draft in New York with their own customized team jersey when they come up to the stage to meet Commissioner Roger Goodell. The process incorporates a rack of blank NFL Draft jerseys, pre-generated press-on name plaques of each player invited to New York, and a heat press for pressing names to jerseys.

While originally reported on in 2012, the New York Times has shared a video of the process that occurs backstage in the two-minute time frame it takes for the NFL draftee to get to the stage once they have been announced.


Speaking of Nike, there was a recent article about Nike founder Phil Knight and in an interview he opened up with some thoughts about his son’s passing:

Knight’s oldest son, Matthew, was scuba diving in El Salvador, visiting the country on a mission for the charity he worked for, when his equipment malfunctioned. The 34-year-old died in the waters of Lake Ilopango, leaving behind a wife and two sons. Knight and his wife, Penny, were devastated. In a note to his staff, Knight told them that instead of sending him condolences, they should make a point of spending more time with their own families.

Bill Waddell at Manufacturing Leadership Center respectfully calls Mr. Knight out for the “dichotomy between such compassion and Nike’s institutional commitment to systemic exploitation of folks working in factories” and he’s right.

As Knight said, “Nike is a marketing-oriented company…” and “We understand the most important thing we do is market the product.”  Manufacturing is just the dirty work best done by people willing to do such dirty work on the cheap. 

The ‘manufacturing’ people at Nike are merely the internal champions of seeking out and making maximum use – abuse – of cheap labor.  If they were actually manufacturing people they would be ashamed of and outraged over factories such as the one they championed in Bangladesh – the one in which they “slogged up a dirty staircase to the top floors of an eight-story building” and had “rolls of fabric were strewn across the production floor and some windows were bolted shut.”

Nike should practice better “respect for people“, and not just domestically – the Nike business case weighs heavily on the backs and shoulders of underpaid commoditized workers in Asian factories.


Mark Graban at shares this great video comparing Formula One pit stops from today and yesteryear:

Yeah, you’ve got a lot more pit crew workers today and considerable rule changes, but you also have improved (and proper) technology and a lot less excess motion and movement due to standardized work and assigned tasks.


Mark also shared a link to the Toyota website featuring the 13 Pillars of the Toyota Production System. Definitely check it out. The post and the pillars will certainly be a part of future content here.


bryce harper

Washington Nationals fans won’t get to see much of Bryce Harper until July.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals is one of my favorite players because he hustles – sometimes too much. His hustle has also certainly cost him a big piece of this season as he required thumb surgery after injuring himself sliding face first into third base.

We’ve already detailed why sliding head first into first base is dangerous and has a poor cost-benefit of doing so (you hardly gain any speed or save time getting to the bag). Maybe players should just stop sliding head first all together.


martin maldonado

Martin Maldonado ripped the cover off of the ball – literally.

Last month Martin Maldonado of the Milwaukee Brewers hit a ball and ripped the cover off of the ball, managing an infield single. Not quite Roy Hobbs, but still pretty cool.

So why did the ball fall apart? Was it a defective cut in the leather from manufacturing? What about seams sewn with weak thread? Was the ball overused or the seams worn down by a pitcher doctoring the ball? Did Maldonado hit the ball just right?

Sometimes it’s hard to do adequate root cause analysis and identify the real reasons why defects happen, but by using root cause analysis properly and considering all possibilities it becomes easier to figure out how to improve processes (such as inspecting baseballs for doctoring or asking questions about production techniques).


Finally, Seth Godin is an absolute must-read. He recently had some great posts that are relevant to continuous improvement.

Speedometer confusion
It’s important to measure the right and meaningful things – the best metrics tie directly back to what really matters and there’s no way to game the system.

What’s your job?
Great tie-in to knowing how you add value.

Cognitive load
When you are forced to handle many individual projects at one time, you burn up your available cognition “cache” and spend a lot of time in switching between priorities. Having a personal kanban concept in place helps you focus on the vital few and gets them done faster.

Power, policy, and public persuasion
“Just because an organization has the power to do something doesn’t mean it should.”

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